Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Album review in Time Off magazine!

Jamais La Paix - Album Review

It’s a big call, but Katerine Gierak, frontwoman of French rockers Mademoiselle K, could just be the Karen O of France. Firstly, they look kind of similar – the 25-year-old Parisian has the same hairstyle and killer eye for fashion as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs vocalist. Secondly, they’re both charismatic performers with vocal deliveries that range from quiet and pensive to wild and sexy to angry and passionate.

Gierak is a diverse songwriter and her band’s music is hard to pigeonhole. While big, loud, chaotic punk rock is their specialty, they’re prone to throwing in danceable grooves or some dark, moody ambience just to keep things interesting. Unless you speak French, you won’t have a clue what any of the songs are about, and we all know those dodgy translation websites aren’t
much help. But if any of these tracks lose their intensity because of the language barrier, then they must have been pretty damn intense to begin with.

Stand-out tracks on Jamais La Paix, the group’s second album, include the melodic ‘A.S.D.’, the powerful yet achingly fragile ‘Maman XY’, the indie disco of ‘Grave And Enjoliveur’, the psychedelic post-rock of ‘En Smoking’ and the drawn-out rock balladry of closing track ‘Espace’.

At first, the French vocals do hinder the memorability of these tracks. You get the sense they’d be catchier in English. It’s hard to get lyrics stuck in your head when you don’t have a clue what they are, and the vocals just sound like another instrument. But don’t let that put you off: give it time, and this record will grow on you like the mould on your housemate’s week-old sandwich.

3 ½ stars - Daniel Wynne

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